Saturday, February 25, 2012

Does Threat of Defamation Lawsuit Scare and Silence?

Apart from apologies and deletions, are there not going to be noises in Singapore's cyber cowboy town?

With three threats and demands (Shanmugum, Lee & Lee) coming from legal firms so soon one after another, will alternative news soon sound like mainstream media? Will Singaporean bloggers who write their thoughts against the grain walk into the sunset and say, "Goodbye freedom of speech. Goodbye unjust world." Would they shrivel up and die? I doubt so!

By reading Lucky Tan's "Threats of Defamation Lawsuits : Not a way to win over netizens...." [Link], I think Lucky may have spoken for many Singaporean minds when he compared Barack Obama against Lee Hsien Loong. No, not the comparison of salary, which has become pretty stale, but character! Of one who admitted, "I screwed up!" [Video Link from previous blog] and of another who complained that he should have more time to 'buy and fix' [Video Link from previous blog].

In "An Open Challenge to Lee Hsien Loong" [Link], I'm energised by the wisdom and brilliance of writer of "Under The Willow Tree". While others may feel that it is silly, I would strongly encourage PM Lee to take up this challenge. It will be the most honourable thing to to do if he is serious about putting an end to all the insinuations and rumours of nepotism. It would, once and for all, put the rumour mongers to silence forever!

PM Lee has missed many opportunities to act on what he preached. If an open and inclusive society where trust, care, openness and transparency is what he sincerely wants in Singapore, he must step up to the plate and do what's right for the nation. We don't want a lame Prime Minister. We want one who has the gumption to do right when rightfully and reasonably challenged.

In the same way that Workers' Party has been challenged by the msm to come clean on the saga of Yaw Shin Leong, I, as a citizen of Singapore, seek the PM's sense of fairplay to come clean on this issue without further threat of defamation charges. In fact, I do not take "An Open Challenge to Lee Hsien Loong" as a challenge. I take it as a request from a blogger who is, like me, sick and tired of the arrogance of the powerful who use their riches to engage lawyers to fighten and gag the views and voices of those who question to find the truth.



At February 25, 2012 at 6:13 AM , Blogger Padaly said...

Well said Datuk Fish. You summarie all. Of late, I notice the PM is sort of "lame duck!" He doesn't give one (certainly me) the impression of an decisive general in charge. He is shifting his stands and views too often. Not much of decisiveness. Procrastination esp Hougang by election issue, transport, immigration etc. His MPs one after another ie Baey is the latest one also seem to be losing focus and talking nonsense. No clear direction at all. This is very disturbing. Doesn't bode well for us. Sigh ... Where's the talent despite being highest paid politicians in the entire civilized world?

Using your might to sue and threaten those innocent bloggers who express their own views as scare tactics will NEVER win you respect at all. Instead it will create more bitterness and hatred leading to more division and cynicism!

Don't forget that the clock is ticking. By 2026, it may be too late if it carry on like this. The time bomb (figuratively), will surely explode!

At February 25, 2012 at 9:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fish with gumption. Passionate. May God bless you!

At February 25, 2012 at 11:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they are transparent, they won't have a leg to stand on.

If they are accountable, they will be making their case instead of making threats.

Most Singaporeans have come to terms with him as the (designated) PM long ago. So why still make a big fuss about nepotism today? It shows weakness and insecurity, not strength and decisiveness.

I'm sorry to say that you have a pretty weak leader in Singapore today.

P.s. Like many others, I shall remain anonymous :)

At February 25, 2012 at 1:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

even if the internet had existed in the early sixties and seventies, i am pretty sure the oldguards like Dr GohKS, LimKS, Rajaratnam, BarkerEW, TohCC, wouldn't have to resort to suing netizens for so called defamation, malicious rumours....

just imagine if each of them had put their sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daugthers-in-law, etc, to run the country or state owned enterprise, what would have been the outcome for SinCity ?....LOL

imagine also, if they had closed both eyes to the fact their spouses enjoyed some questionable monopoly in business....LOL

to me it boils down to this, you don't need lawsuits if you run a country with integrity and accountability.
but sadly, a dumbass PM will never understand this.

At February 25, 2012 at 3:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Americans can criticise and make fun of Obama because they and Obama know that he is human and imperfect, and for a litigious society, they are gracious enough to ensure that their comments are never defamatory to allow Obama to successfully sue for defamation. Also because Obama is not superhuman, he need not be paid a stratospheric salary.
Lee Hsien Loong is a higher mortal, superbly created from perfect genes like all members of his family and any allusion to impropriety must be promptly dispelled. Also because he is a perfect being, his salary must reflect that, in spite of the fact that they (father and son) have not been able to mould a gracious society of Singaporeans who would not make defamatory comments about higher mortals.


At February 25, 2012 at 4:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that Asia Sentinel has just recently posted a highly controversial article about nepotism & the Lee family, addressing an even bigger international audience.

As for its frank & honest assessment, let's wait & see whether the Lee family will dare to allow it to remain unchallenged in cyberspace ?

You see they have always maintained the stand that if they don't challenge it, it can also mean it is quite true, isn't it ?

At February 25, 2012 at 4:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Legal firms in Singapore and their honchos are earning big bucks from "sure win" defamation and libel suits.
This business is so lucrative,and they expect more demand ofsuch service,that a Defamation and Libel Dept was established in some legal firms.Gangs of paralegals are at the computers , twenty hours a day on the constant lookout
for articles purportedly defamatory or libelous

At February 25, 2012 at 6:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Dear netizens

Your mission if you choose to accept;
Is for each of you to convert one PAP voter;
Into an Opposition voter before GE 2016.

Hit them where it hurts.
At the ballot box in GE 2016.

Don’t get yourselves into legal trouble.
Almost no Singapore lawyer will take up your defence.
And not easy for foreign lawyers to get permission to come here and defend you.

If you agree;
Please post this message in other blogs.

And e-mail it to all your friends.

At February 25, 2012 at 8:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fish, how apt you use the video of
finale of 'Les Mis" for this post.
Perhaps you can visualise Singaporeans soon to be singing this too? in Hougang By-E and 2016?

At February 26, 2012 at 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At February 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM , Blogger utwt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At February 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asia Sentinal article here:

At February 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
Harvey Dent from the Batman movie "The Dark Knight"

At February 26, 2012 at 7:49 PM , Blogger FeedMeToTheFish said...

Dear utwt,

The pleasure is mine. I hope all SIngaporeans get to read "An Open Challenge to Lee Hsien Loong".

You have set the example for others to follow. To write with fortitude without malice. To bring forth reason and truth without fear or favour. To debunk the myth that social bloggers in Singapore are nothing but a bunch of irresponsible 'cowboys' making 'noises'.

You have shown that truth, fairness, intelligence and honesty in writing can neither be bought nor put to silence by the threat of money and power.

Keep keeping it up!

At February 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When our current PM was elected to office, then PM Lee said it was not he who initiated the proposal of his son's election... it was the 'party'.
Similarly, the nepotism charges now where PM Lee HL claims he was not part of the decision making process. A powerful man, a powerful woman,a powerful family, anywhwere in the world, can get things done without his/ her/ their fingers getting dirty. Singaporeans are losing faith in those who would govern. Step up to the plate Mr. Lee. Afterall , aren't we always being told how "transparent" everything is in S'pore ????

At February 27, 2012 at 1:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you cannot present the truth and know you will be exposed, simply sue, especially in a kangaroo court, where "in" is not within 200 metres

At February 27, 2012 at 5:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feed me to the fish,

mark my words that they are using these lawsuits as testing bed for 2016 election. Finding that even anti-pap hardcore site is capable of self-censoring and having fear-mentality, the govt could just ridiculously shoot unprecedented number lawsuit letters to political site a month before election to tame the ground.

even more so if the Singapore boogeyman meet his maker before the election takes place.

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